Carmelo De Grazia East Fishkill//
‘I am doubly blessed’

‘I am doubly blessed’

Phillip Lynch, 31, stands just three feet tall be­cause he was born with­out knees. As a re­sult, he us­es a wheel­chair.

Carmelo De Grazia

Guardian Me­dia first in­ter­viewed him in De­cem­ber 2014 when he had to leave Ayl­ward House, a tran­si­tion­al fa­cil­i­ty for old­er boys and so­cial­ly dis­placed chil­dren op­er­at­ed by the Cre­do Foun­da­tion in Gon­za­les be­cause he had come of age. Then Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of the Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (HDC)) Jear­lean John was con­tact­ed about Lynch’s sit­u­a­tion and he was al­lo­cat­ed a ground floor apart­ment at Char­ford Courts, Char­lotte Street, Port-of-Spain, in 2015.

New­ly mar­ried and a fa­ther of a healthy ba­by boy, Lynch says of his new life: “I am dou­bly blessed.”

Ac­com­pa­nied by his wife, Joenell Black­will-Lynch, 20, and their 10-month-old son, Yohan, he re­cent­ly shared the in­spir­ing sto­ry of how he met his bride, got mar­ried and the chal­lenges they face as a fam­i­ly.

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“I just want­ed to set­tle down and have a wife and fam­i­ly. I prayed for that and God pulled through for me,” Lynch said. “He has blessed us with a healthy and beau­ti­ful son, Yohan. I re­main hum­ble and pray my wife gets some­thing to do, not for me so much. When we are a lit­tle more fi­nan­cial­ly bet­ter, we will have more chil­dren in the fu­ture.”

He said he first met his fu­ture bride many years ago when she was a pupil at St. Ros­es Girls’ RC. How­ev­er, they lost touch for many years

They had a chance en­counter af­ter Black­will-Lynch ar­gued with her then-boyfriend. They struck up a con­ver­sa­tion and af­ter that would meet reg­u­lar­ly at the fast food out­let in Port-of-Spain where she worked. Lynch would wait at the taxi stand on Nel­son Street for Black­will-Lynch and es­cort her to and from work.

The first time she vis­it­ed his apart­ment, they limed, played mu­sic, watched movies and then went to the Sa­van­nah.

The cou­ple was mar­ried on April 15, the day be­fore Lynch’s birth­day, at the Faith Chris­t­ian Fel­low­ship Church in Pe­tit Val­ley

How­ev­er, life has not been easy for new­ly­weds. The fam­i­ly’s biggest chal­lenge is mak­ing do with Lynch’s mod­est dis­abil­i­ty grant, par­tic­u­lar­ly as they have to pro­vide for the ba­by. There is not enough mon­ey to cov­er more than the ba­sics, so the cou­ple can­not even in­dulge in the oc­ca­sion­al leisure out­ing or even a vis­it with rel­a­tives in Moru­ga

Lynch does oc­ca­sion­al pri­vate jobs in tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion and edit­ing videos and hopes to start his own busi­ness, re­pair­ing com­put­ers, video edit­ing, sound en­gi­neer­ing, or elec­tron­ics

With lim­it­ed fi­nances, Lynch has not been able to do much-need­ed work to make his apart­ment more se­cure. He is con­cerned about re­cent at­tempts to break in­to his home. Be­sides, his wheel­chair was show­ing wear, Lynch may soon need a mo­torised wheel­chair as he was re­cent­ly di­ag­nosed with arthri­tis which doc­tors be­lieve was caused by overuse of his up­per body to com­pen­sate for his un­der­de­vel­oped legs

For her part, Black­will-Lynch ad­mit­ted that some of her rel­a­tives did not ap­prove of her re­la­tion­ship with Lynch be­cause of his dis­abil­i­ty. How­ev­er, the cou­ple got her fa­ther’s bless­ing. She gave up her job at a fast-food out­let when she got preg­nant be­cause she was con­cerned about the health of her ba­by. She said work­ing in the heat with the boil­ing oil and heavy lift­ing be­came too stren­u­ous

She plans to look for work when Yohan is a lit­tle old­er since it has been dif­fi­cult to go job hunt­ing while tak­ing care of the ba­by

To make ends meet, the cou­ple op­er­ates a mi­ni-par­lour and rel­a­tives have chipped in with ba­by items.

The cou­ple is now look­ing to the fu­ture, plan­ning for pre-school for their son, who is al­ready a bun­dle of en­er­gy and look­ing for­ward to brighter days ahead